It’s 2012 and I am asking you, in the dawn of the world of digital storage, not to not go paperless. I am asking you, in the age of reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose, not to go paperless. I am asking you, for your child, to not go paperless.
I am not asking this because I want you to become a paper hoarder. I am asking this so you to don’t send the wrong message to your child……..
“Your job is not important!”
That’s right, your child has a job. Just like you, your child gets up every morning, gets dressed and heads off to work. They have tasks that they must complete and deadlines to meet. They work hard all day long and for some it doesn’t come easy.
Picture yourself at your job, busy during the day, to meet a deadline. You take the finished product to your boss at the end of the day, who looks at it, tells you thanks and throws it in the trash. Your boss sent you a message and it wasn’t a positive one. How would you feel if this really happened to you?
Yet, there are parents out there sending this message to their children. They are the parents not looking at their child’s school work at all or look at it and then throw it away.
I am aware that you could fill a small bedroom if you kept every piece of school work that arrives home but you owe it to your child to treat their work with respect. During their school years they spend more time at their job than they do with you. It is a big part of their life and you should save at least a small portion of this part of their childhood.
Guilty parents, it’s not that hard to do. Make going through their work an activity that you do together. Look at each paper. If something is wrong, briefly go over the mistake. Find something your child did well and compliment them on it (don’t make it a time to just go through to see how many 100’s there are……look for neatness, interesting sentences, or previous mistakes that are now correct). Ask them what paper they are most proud of and if there are any papers or artwork they would like to keep.
After you have gone through the folder with them, don’t throw the other papers away! Many times children, especially early elementary children, will take a paper home that should have given to the teacher for assessment. At the end of the day when the teacher starts grading work, they will realize it and will be asking you to send it back. Keep papers for at least 2 weeks at a time. When you do dispose of the work, don’t do it in front of your child! Put it in a bag on trash day or in the middle of recycled newspapers. Just don’t let them see it!
My mother saved very little of my work but what she did save was in a shirt box labeled with my name. She saved mainly artwork and report cards. As I got older I began saving work and adding it to the box. I have enjoyed going through it over the years so when my children entered preschool, I started saving some of their work. I got 3 inch binders and a 3 hole punch and made books. If I was doing it now, I would use plastic bins and take more pictures of oversized artwork or projects. I tried to keep papers that showed their development (writing name, drawing people, etc). I even managed to save, without them looking, some samples from high school and college. They are packed away but someday, perhaps when they have children, they will enjoy looking at them.
Do you need help getting started? Jeri’s Organizing and Decluttering News suggests several ways to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Most comments agree that children should be a part of the decision making process.
One commenter suggests making a digital scrapbook of artwork but that makes me a bit nervous. You see, I remember 8 track tapes. I’ve see the demise of the floppy diskette. How long will it be before CD’s are no longer welcomed in our computers? Go ahead and store it on your computer, but if you value it, back it up with a paper copy.
Find a system that works for you and don’t go paperless with your child’s school work. Don’t let them think their job isn’t important. Don’t send the wrong message. Respect your child’s work and send them the message that you respect what they do all day when they are a part from you.